Casper Van Dien: Sexiest Soap Star
It's not easy being beautiful. At least it wasn't at Admiral Farragut military academy in St. Petersburg, Fla., where Casper Van Dien attended high school for two years. "They called me Ken Doll," recalls Van Dien, 31. "I used to get in a lot of fights because of the way I looked. I wanted to be G.I. Joe, not a Ken doll." Twelve years later, the son of a Navy pilot father and a nursery school teacher mother (both now retired) is grateful for his looks, which are generating heat on NBC's new prime-time soap Titans. "It's the greatest form of flattery to be noticed," says Van Dien. On the Titans set, however, the 5'10" actor is noticed mostly for his nonstop energy—between scenes he belts out show tunes and dances (his parents taught him ballroom, jitterbug and box step, he says). Observes his costar Lourdes Benedicto: "Basically he's a big ham. He's the ultimate Energizer bunny." That's a fact Van Dien's wife, former Dynasty vixen Catherine Oxenberg, 39, readily confirms. The two met in October 1998 while making the movie The Collectors. The next thing she knew, he was "swinging around in the trees serenading me, she says. Seven months later they wed. They're now settled in a three-bedroom Beverly Hills home, and the honeymoon still isn't over. "I love to spoil her," says Van Dien, who recently hired a plane to write "Casper loves Catherine" in the sky. Oxenberg doesn't worry about the women who ogle Van Dien, who has a son, Bo, 7, and daughter, Gracie, 4 (from a four-year marriage to Robert Mitchum's granddaughter, actress Carrie Mitchum), and who attends a Unity church in Los Angeles every Sunday dressed in a suit. It seems the only one concerned about the attention Van Dien attracts is Oxenberg's daughter India, 9. On a trip to Rome last year, when India noticed a group of young girls gathering outside their hotel, she grabbed Van Dien and insisted he stay inside. "Mom," she later warned, "you have to watch out for those teenagers."
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